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End racial stereotyping

Judgments impact everyone, exist everywhere

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“Oh, you’re half Asian, that’s probably why you have good grades,” I’ve been told.

Stereotypes like “the smart Asian” are extremely prevalent in our lives, and sometimes unintentionally, can hit people hard. I find stereotypes to be unnecessary judgments of groups of peopleoftentimes they are wrong and hurtful.

Racial stereotypes are most often said as a joke, such as “you’re a white girl, you can’t dance.” Every day I walk through the hallways and I hear multiple stereotypes that people laugh at and make fun of. However, even if it’s just a joke, there are many people who take offense or are hurt by the things said. Stereotypes by no means define a group of people or even a person, but rather, everyone has their own identity.

I have heard many stories of people who try to Westernize themselves in order to fit in with others and disassociate themselves with their own stereotypes. Blacks are followed because they look suspicious, Middle Eastern people are automatically sketchy, or Asians find school easy are all general assumptions many people of those groups don’t actually identify with.

For example, an Asian person who struggles to get rid of their accent to prevent bullying ultimately strips themselves of a part of their identity. Similarly, Muslim girls might abandon their hijabs at school for fear of embarrassment. There is not a single reason a person should have to do this, but the stereotypes people are faced with day in and day out often indirectly influence their decision to do so.

Everyone has experienced a time where they simply want to fit in and be normal. Stereotypes have become an incentive to feel this way the pressure to distance themselves from the stereotypes and being just like others, instead of themselves.

The presence of stereotypes in our society is often caused by the media, family, or even friends and has come to shape the everyday lives of our population. I truly believe and hope that people try to open their minds to new things, rather than forming an opinion based on a first impression. Interacting and working with a diverse group of people is necessary to minimize the effects of stereotypes. By doing so, you are able to see people as they truly are and apply that experience in the future.

Stereotypes are not simply race-based. However, a good handful of them do fall into that category. Nevertheless, racial or not, stereotypes harm many people and are often incorrect. I have met multiple people that disprove or contradict stereotypes, yet it is amazing how people are still quick to judge.

Yes, a black person can be successful, they’re not all in gangs; yes, not all teens are rebellious, many strive for good grades and a promising future; and no, not all Muslims are terrorists. All groups of people have the same chances to be something greater and it’s not determined by common stereotypes or beliefs.

Overall, labeling and judging without actually knowing is willful ignorance. It is extremely wrong to categorize people because of things out of one’s control. In the future, I urge people to take the initiative to properly correct this problem so new victims are not created and people are given the same opportunity and treatment regardless of race.

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The student news site of St. Louis Park High School
End racial stereotyping